Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How To: Make Spent Beer Grain Dog Treats Recipe


Basil appreciates a good brew day just as much as we do, but for his own selfish reasons — he knows he's going to get some fresh dog cookies made with the leftover spent grains from the brew!

You might remember we recently stopped by our friends' house (Clay and Corrina of 2 Noble Dog Brewing) during brew day and took Basil along for the fun. They were so nice to send us home with two heaping containers full of spent grains from the brew to work with and we ended up making a mega batch of dog treats with them that Basil absolutely loved, so today we're sharing the recipe for them along with a few tips for working with spent grains.


First a little background — Clay of 2 Noble Dogs Brewing is a good friend of mine from back in high school and has been home brewing for years now. He's built his brewing setup from scratch and even makes his own mash paddles — the guy is pretty amazing.

He and his wife are also avid dog lovers in addition to the brew — meet their 3 babies, Yabba, Dabba and Bodhi who Basil loved getting a chance to run around and play with:


Corrina had a tried and true dog treat recipe on hand that uses spent grains as the main ingredient and passed it along for us to use as a reference — you can tell they probably go through a lot of dog cookies in this house! We've been wanting to try our hands at making spent grain dog treats ever since our good friends, Emily & J, sent a jar of them with us for Basil on our honeymoon.

Clay explained parts of the brewing method while we hung outside and how the grains are an integral part of the process, but are a huge by-product after the fact:



He said there are lots of new recipes popping up as ways to re-use the spent grains, but that it also makes good compost for the garden if they end up with too much. They've made all sorts of things from bread, to pizza dough and of course, dog treats.

Here's Corrina scooping out the spent grains from the vessel with a colander into a tall stock pot to bring inside and divide up: 



This is the point where Basil came over to give everything a good inspection:


Once inside, we continued to drain the spent grains before transferring them over to transportable containers to take home with us:



Corrina explained that it's best to use the spent grains right away or within the first few days after brewing, otherwise they will go bad. She did tell us you can freeze them in portion sized bags for storing and later use, and that there are even ways to dry and grind down the grains into a flour for storing and use later too. 


We took the recipe she gave us for the dog treats, doubled it and modified only a few things, like swapping in whole wheat flour for white and adding more as needed. The ingredients here seem pretty flexible, if you wanted to swap in brown rice flour, or add flax seeds or other mix-ins, for example. We'd love to try different versions down the road now that we've tackled this first basic batch with success!

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups spent grain
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 organic eggs

Somebody was paying extra close attention to this photo-taking step of this recipe post — his doggy senses never lie and he just had an inkling that these cookies were going to have his name written all over them:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, combine and mix each of the ingredients thoroughly until a thick dough forms:


We found the mixture to be very sticky at this stage, but added flour as needed to help roll into a ball. Don't be surprised if it's sticking to your fingers — it will also begin to harden up and get easier to form the more you work with it:


Roll out the dough on a generously floured surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, lining them up on baking sheets. No greasing was necessary for the baking sheets.

If you don't have cookie cutters or want a more natural shape you can cut the dough with a knife, or use spoons to create drop cookies. We used this as a fun excuse to pull out our jumbo box of cookie cutters. We're pretty sure Basil prefers his cookies in shapes too.


When using the cookie cutters, we did find it was hard to get a completely clean cut through the spent grains, so expect some edges to look rough and rustic — once you get the basic shape, you can kind of push the rough edges in and under to get a cleaner looking line if you want.


Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 225 degrees and continue baking for 2 hours. Cooking them the additional time at the lower temperature will help ensure they dry completely, extending their shelf life:


The dried cookies will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container and even longer if you freeze them in zipper bags. We freeze ours and give them to Basil straight from the freezer bag as a cool treat during the summer.


Here's a little message Basil put together, thanking Clay and Corrina for the spent grains and dog treat recipe they so generously gave us:


Outside of all the cookie letters, we made little hearts, stars, bite size circles and even some big sized dinosaurs (that in my opinion look like Barney) for Basil:


These are fun to make in big batches, make great gifts for friends with dogs, and in our experience are a big hit with our big guy, Basil!


Have you made dog treats or other recipes with spent beer grains? We'd love to know what's worked for you and what we should be trying next!

Discover More:

25 comments:

  1. After a brew day, we usually try and compost our spent grain and the dogs go after it like mad! So thanks for the great recipe, we are excited to try it, I'm sure the pups will love it too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait to hear how it turns out! Thanks for taking a look!

      Delete
  2. Amanda from CincinnatiJuly 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Thanks for the post! Cant wait to try this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let us know how it turns out. We accept samples of the beer also :)

      Delete
  3. This is totally awesome!!!! I have to say it's very eery how you went to brew day the same weekend we bottled :) Can't wait to try the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is great Angie what style of beer do you guys usually brew?

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the recipe! Brewed our very first homebrew this weekend and used this recipe for the spent grain. I had to add some water and play with the baking time because I dried my grain before using, (and I think you used yours still "wet"?) but it turned out great. Our Chocolate Lab Beau loved them! I will definitely be using this recipe again and again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking a look and trying this. So happy it worked out and that Beau loved them! Woof from our weim Basil!

      Delete
  5. I cannot wait to try this! What a great Christmas gift this is going to make for all the dogs in my family. We usually compost the grain, but this will be so much more fun:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leah, what a great gift idea for the holidays! Let us know how they turn out!

      Delete
  6. We have are having a brew day this weekend. I usually save some grains and add them into oatmeal cookies for us (beer cookies!) but I only use about 1/2 cup per batch or it gets a little too chewy. This is something I've wanted to try for a long time, but I never had an idea where to start. Thanks for sharing! I have another idea for a variation that I may try and I'll stop back to share if it goes well! It involves canned salmon. What dog doesn't LOVE salmon?! Basil is adorable BTW...I just die over that pic of Basil watching the cookies being made. So intense! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks and yes Basil steals the show most of the time! Good luck with your spent grain treats!

      Delete
    2. Update: I tried the reciepe it worked great! I modified the recipe, since I had just made peanut butter ones the week before and had a recipe with salmon. I used your recipe, but instead of the peanut butter I added 1 large can of salmon (15 oz.). I drained it, but I'm not sure I should have. They were a hit but my house did smell like fish for about 24 hours :-)

      Delete
  7. Thank you for sharing. My dogs love these. Just made them this morning.

    Bill

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think an important point worth mentioning here is that dogs are allergic to hops so any brewers using hops before their boil (in the mash) should avoid using that grain for the dogs. Great idea though! Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes as with anything new to a dogs diet we certainly would recommend a small amount at first just to see of there is any reactions. Some dogs do react differently to different kinds of food in their diet.

      Delete
  9. Hops is toxic to dogs so be sure you only use the spent grains with NO hops

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi. I'd love to try this, but I don't have friends that make beer! maybe the Budweiser factory in my city will donate some if I ask nicely! haha! But what I wanted to ask you is if there is any specific health benefit to using the grains. Do they have any additional nutritional value? I'm really trying to bake using more traditional, healthful methods, for my family AND my dog. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeanie, we certainly are not nutritional experts. With that said if you read through the comments there is a back and forth debate on whether or not spent grains are even good for dogs. We have friends that brew and we wanted to give it a try. The treats were easy and fit in with our motto of minimizing waste. Normally the spent grains would get tossed out or hopefully be composted. Our dog loved them and we gave them to him in moderation with no issues! You might search your area for a local home brew club and get in touch with them for spent grains. Good Luck and thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  11. brew day was yesterday at our house and today was a snow day so I made your recipe - hellz yeah! our dogs LOVE them. the real test is charley who is quite discerning....he took his and ran onto the dog bed so he could eat in privacy. even zoe slowed down to chew! this will be a new ritual for us. thanks for the great and healthy recipe!

    also a note to others: we grind our own like many others and there's nothing in there that can get the dogs sick.....the hops are typically added after the mash (which makes the wort) - after the mash is taken out, the hops are added.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the great write up and awesome instructions! I have been living and brewing in my condo for a couple years and unfortunately don't have the the option for composing my spent grain. Dog treats have been by far my best option. Couple cool additions for any all grain brewers, where 4 cups barely make a small dent in your remaining spent grains.

    Often I do not have the time to make treats even a day or two after brewing. Therefore I dehydrate my spent grains and package them for storage. It very easy, spread the grain in a thin layer onto several cookie sheets and pop in the oven @ 225 for +2 hr or until fully dried.

    Then before baking the dog treats, it's best to rehydrate the grain that the treat are a bit softer in order to break into small pieces (that is if you have a smaller doggie), else don't worry. Put the grains (4 cups) in the bowl, covered with water for 15 min.

    Now that the grains are dehydrated, you also have the option to mill your spent grains into flour and use this flour in place to store bought flours. Very easy to do if you have a magic bullet or ninja.

    Enjoy your spent grain dog treats. I know Mukashi does!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I did this with a cup and a half of shredded cheese instead of the peanut butter. My dog seems to love them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Did these last week as written and they turned out sooo well! I want to make people crackers with the same recipe + salt and hot peppers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Found a receipe just the same but with pumpkin puree...
    2 cups spent grains
    1 cup flour
    1 cup peanut butter
    1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    1 egg

    Mika loves it!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment here in our corner of the world.

P.S. Any comments from the animal kingdom will be forwarded to Basil in a timely manner.